With the Iraq war spinning out of control in mid-2005, retired Marine General James L. Jones spoke with his old friend Peter Pace, the incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Jones, who is now Barack Obama's national security advisor, had been sounded out for the Joint Chiefs job but demurred. One reason: He felt that civilian leaders in Washington were warping the military planning process. "Military advice is being influenced on a political level," Jones warned Pace, according to Bob Woodward's book State of Denial. Jones's warning squared with other reports at the time that U.S.
Earlier this week, Thomas Wire of the London School of Economics published a study concluding that improved family planning is one of the most effective methods of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions we’ve got.
A friend following Joint Chiefs chairman Mike Mullen's testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee sends over this exchange between Mullen and John McCain, who asked the general about Carl Levin's proposal to prioritize training of Afghan security forces over U.S.
USA Today finds that under the new American commander in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, NATO airstrikes are down 50 percent. Unfortunately Afghans are probably far more aware of last week's airstrike in Kunduz--Afghan officials now say 30 civilians were killed--than they are of that statistaic.
In 1949, a year after the state of Israel was created, its Chief Rabbi visited President Harry Truman in Washington. Isaac Halevi Herzog told Truman that his role in helping the Jewish state achieve its independence was not just a matter of politics and diplomacy; it was a divine mission.
I suppose it's good that the Swat Valley Taliban spokesman has been captured, but I have to question the wisdom of luring in people under the guise of negotiations and then snatching them. If we really are serious about trying to cut deals with some Taliban elements, it's probably not wise to give them reason to suspect any outreach might be a trap. Relatedly, Carl Levin had this complaint in today's NYT: Mr. Levin said the administration needed to adopt a plan to separate low- and midlevel insurgents from hard-core Taliban fighters and commanders.
Uh-oh: Allegations of voter fraud in Afghanistan may be creating a rift between the United States and Britain. Appearing on the BBC, US special envoy to Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke had remarkably different things to say about the situation in Afghanistan than British Foreign Secretary David Miliband did. Downplaying the election controversy in Afghanistan, Mr. Holbrooke characterized the rampant allegations of fraud as the sloppy, but normal side effects of democracy. Mr. Miliband said free and fair are not how his government would describe the elections.
Via the WSJ: "I don't think there's a great deal of support for sending more troops to Afghanistan in the country or in the Congress," Ms. Pelosi told reporters. Meawhile Carl Levin is adopting a "stand them up so we can stand down" position. And things are sounding awfully reminiscent of the Iraq war circa 2004-2005. Meanwhile, I am told John Kerry's Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold hearings on Afghanistan next week to consider a range of different options for U.S. military policy there.
Just as the Obama administration gears up to rally international support for tough sanctions on Iran, Moscow says they're not needed: Just a day after U.S. officials warned that Iran may already have enough enriched uranium to make a bomb if processed further, Mr. Lavrov said negotiations should begin without any imposed timetable. He also said that even if Iran tried to make weapons-grade fuel it would be detected and there would be time to respond. "I do not think those sanctions will be approved by the United Nations Security Council," Mr.
One remarkable thing about watching the Middle East is how what’s celebrated as brilliant in Europe or America is errant nonsense. Writing such stuff makes people successful and gives them an audience of millions.